I love the way the flavors in this dish work together: there’s a little smokiness, a little sweetness, and a little tang– all in a warming, earthy tangle. I chose butternut squash because that’s what I had on hand, but I’m sure other types of winter squash would be equally delicious. I followed Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for roasting the squash and it turned out perfectly.
*To toast the pine nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes, watching closely, just until lightly browned and fragrant.
*If you don’t have a steamer you could try one of these methods for steaming the kale, or even the microwave. Whatever works!
1 cup roasted butternut squash cubes (I used 1 small butternut)
1 smallish bunch of kale, rough stems removed, chopped
1 package of soba noodles
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
For the dressing, whisk together:
2 Tb tamari (or soy sauce)
2 Tb rice wine vinegar
1 Tb toasted sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Cook soba according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, steam kale with a tiny dash of salt in a metal steamer with lid over medium-high heat, for 4-5 minutes. This may have to be done in batches.
- Toss soba with kale and dressing, and sprinkle with pine nuts. Taste and see if you want to add a little more tamari or other dressing ingredients.
Yield: About 3 servings
A yummy fall salad, perfect for a packed lunch or as part of a bigger spread. The combination of dill and roasted almonds is inspired by the Whole Earth Salad from the Hungry Hollow Co-Op in Chestnut Ridge, NY. It’s a delicious creation featuring baked tofu and cabbage, simultaneously light and satisfying. This lentil salad, too, is herbaceous and earthy and full of crunch, with plenty of tanginess via fresh lemon juice and sherry vinegar. It tastes best after a good sit in the fridge, ideally over night. Add a bit of red onion if you like; I didn’t find it necessary, but then again I’m not that crazy about raw onion in general. Some quinoa would also be awesome here.
1 cup French lentils, rinsed and sorted
Juice from 1-2 lemons
1/4+ tsp salt
1 smallish beet, grated
1/2 carrot, grated or cut in thin strips (I used a vegetable peeler)
1/3 cup roasted almonds, chopped
5 Tb grapeseed oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2-1 tsp agave
2 heaping Tb fresh dill, chopped
bit of red onion, chopped (optional)
- Cook lentils in 2 cups of water over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until cooked but still firm, stirring occasionally and adding more water to cover as necessary. Drain.
- While lentils are still warm, stir in 1/4 tsp salt, juice from half a lemon, and a couple grinds of black pepper. Let cool.
- Mix the oil, vinegar, dijon, agave, juice from the other lemon half, and a little salt and pepper by shaking in a closed jar or using one of those nifty salad dressing mixers. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.
- Stir dressing, veggies, almonds, and dill into the lentils. Taste for seasonings. Let sit for at least half an hour before serving.
Yield: 3.5 cups
Here is my recipe for weeknight (read: pantry-friendly!) red beans and rice. The thyme and the smokiness are essential flavors, though most of the ingredient list is actually pretty flexible: jarred roasted red peppers can be used in place of fresh, a bit of ground chipotle can be used in lieu of the liquid smoke, less tomatoes can be used for less saucy beans. Complete this dish with some garlicky braised collards or other greens, or serve with a nice big ol’ salad.
1 cup rice (I love brown basmati here)
1¾ to 2 cups water
1/2 cube bouillon, optional
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small frying or bell pepper (any color), or ¼ cup roasted red pepper, chopped
1½ tsp dried thyme
1/2 to 1 15-oz can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
1 15-oz can red beans, drained and rinsed
1/8 tsp ground cayenne
drizzle or two of olive oil
couple splashes of liquid smoke
- Cook rice according to package directions, with a bit of bouillon in the water if desired. Brown rice typically takes around 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add garlic, chopped pepper, and thyme (and more oil if necessary). Cook for another 4 minutes or so.
- Add tomatoes and cayenne, turn up heat, let bubble a couple minutes.
- Turn down heat, add beans and liquid smoke, and simmer for a few minutes. Check for seasonings. Add beans to rice and serve with your favorite hot sauce.
Summer’s bounty has been glorious. Corn, squash, green beans, chard, potatoes, tomatoes (oh the tomatoes!), apricots, plums, basil, and now–right now– peaches. Ripe August peaches are the main event of this simple, Italian-inspired salad. Eat it barefoot in a grassy field or at your kitchen counter, and just try not to get this song stuck in your head.
*The ingredient amounts are rough approximations for one serving; adjust accordingly.
1 cup arugula
1/2 peach, sliced
1 TB sliced almonds
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
tiny pinch of sea salt
- Heat almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, watching very closely and
agitating pan frequently, just until toasty and fragrant.
- Drizzle a bit of olive oil onto arugula, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and gently toss.
- Top greens with peach slices, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and almonds.
Let me be clear about something: the only “grilling” I do is on my George Foreman. That’s right, this one window kitchen is in a one bedroom rental in Brooklyn; the yard is a stoop, a view, and nearby public parks. If you do have access to an actual grill, by all means use it! You can also use a stove-top grill, or any old frying pan (using a little high heat-friendly oil), browning on medium high heat, a few minutes per side.
*Note: Most soba noodles contain wheat and therefore gluten. I used King Soba sweet potato-buckwheat noodles, which are gluten-free.
*Optional: If bitter eggplant is a concern, just salt it and set aside for at least 1/2 an hour beforehand. (I didn’t bother.)
2-3 Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthwise
2 heaping TB miso
2 TB hot water
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp agave
1 TB freshly grated ginger
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Generous handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 package soba noodles
1 TB olive oil
1 TB wheat-free tamari (or regular soy sauce, if gluten is not a concern)
1-2 scallions, sliced (optional)
Sriracha for serving (optional)
- Pre-heat grill/cooking apparatus.
- Whisk together miso and hot water, then mix in the sesame oil, agave, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Brush onto eggplant slices and grill for about 3 minutes, working in batches as necessary.
- Meanwhile cook soba in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, then quickly toss with olive oil and tamari.
- Top soba with eggplant, basil, and scallions (if using). Serve with sriracha, if desired.
This salad is so fresh, so easy, so summery– perfect for the kind of sweltering days we’ve been having here in NY. Even without the quinoa, the raw squash salad makes a lovely side. Or you could bulk it up with some chickpeas and avocado.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed if necessary (I buy pre-rinsed)
½ square of vegetable bouillon, dissolved in 2 cups water
2-3 yellow squash, sliced thin
¼ cup pine nuts
Salt + black pepper, to taste
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (½ lemon should cut it)
A few leaves of fresh basil
- Make your quinoa. Toast quinoa in a teeny bit of olive oil in saucepan for a couple of minutes, just until fragrant. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit 15 minutes more. Then uncover, fluff with fork, and let cool.
- Toss squash with a few drizzles of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let sit for a little while to allow flavors to mingle.
- Mix squash salad with quinoa and pine nuts. Add lemon juice and freshly torn basil, and taste for salt and pepper.
I concocted this dreamy mousse for my boyfriend, who currently can’t eat sugar, gluten, or alcohol– but still needs his chocolate fix. Stevia can be tricky to work with because of its bitter flavor and unusual mouthfeel, but here that bitterness blends right in with the rich chocolate, while the creamy coconut milk rounds things out. The result is a dessert that is decadent and luscious and airy all at once.
1 (4 oz) bar 100% cocoa baking chocolate, chopped
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (full fat)
30-35 drops vanilla stevia extract, preferably this kind
1 Tb agar powder
Optional garnishes: berries, shaved chocolate, cacao nibs, coconut, nuts
- Pour coconut milk into a cup and whisk in agar powder. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a double-boiler, gently melt chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
- Whisk in coconut milk-agar mixture and stevia drops, starting with 30 drops and adding more if it tastes like it needs it. Turn heat up to high, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, whisking almost constantly and being careful not to let mixture burn.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Using an electric mixer, mix for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy. Serve or keep in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Yield: about 10 servings
A grain, a green, a bean: that’s my go-to formula for a healthful, vegan dinner. And this pasta dish is just the sort of thing you can catch me making—and eating—on a regular basis. Garlicky braised kale and creamy cannellini beans are natural BFFs, while gluten-free quinoa spaghetti (I love Andean Dream) provides the perfect toothsome base. Of course you could use any kind of pasta here, sub chickpeas for the cannellinis, swiss chard for the kale… really, when you’re cooking with garlic and olive oil, it’s hard to go wrong.
1 12-oz package of pasta
4 to 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, trimmed of tough stems and chopped
1 cup vegetable broth (I use ½ square of Rapunzel veg bouillon mixed with 1c water)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet/wok over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for about 3 minutes or so, til garlic is fragrant and a little golden.
- Stir in kale and saute for about a minute. Pour in vegetable broth, stir, and cover pan with lid. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning up heat as necessary and stirring occasionally, until kale is cooked through.
- Add beans and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes with the lid off, over medium-low heat, to allow flavors to meld.
- Mix drained pasta with everything else. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and serve.
Yield: about 4 servings